The Problem

Picking and Packing in Unstructured Environments

Conventional robotic grippers are expensive and incapable of operating in warehousing, manufacturing, and food processing environments where the uncertainty and variety in the weight, size and shape of products being handled has prevented automated solutions from working in the past. To solve this problem we have built a fundamentally new class of robotic grippers that are adaptive, inexpensive, and simple to use.
Perhaps more than any other element of robotic development in warehousing and distribution, the end-of-arm tooling, or gripper, is the place that can make or break a robot’s success.
- Modern Materials Handling, March 2015


$B Fresh-Cut Fruit and Vegetable Market


$B Losses Due to Labor Shortages


% of Distribution Center Labor Focused on Picking

Our Solution

Soft Robotics Inc. designs and builds grippers and control systems that can manipulate items of varying size, shape and weight with a single device. By leveraging the science of soft robotic actuators, it is now possible to automate facilities that have traditionally depended on manual labor for bin picking, order fulfillment, and other complex pick and place tasks. Let us help you solve your gripper problem and together we can expand the world of automation.


Our solution delivers:

  • Wide Range of Addressable Objects
  • Low Cost and Turn Key Integration
  • No Mechanical Moving Parts or Sensors Required
  • Placement Speed and Precision

Soft Robotic Grippers In Action

High-speed food handling

Precise pick and place

Adaptive grasping

Soft Robotics Applications

Warehouse Logistics

An e-commerce warehouse stores an ever increasing number of SKUs that are continuously changing. Automating these facilities will require a simple adaptive gripper capable of manipulating items with varying shapes, sizes, and weights.

Advanced Assembly

Automation of manufacturing facilities has been limited to highly-structured tasks. As a result many industries still rely on hand assembly. What is needed is a gripper that excels at operating in unstructured environments.

Food Handling

Many food items (e.g. peaches and tomatoes) cannot be manipulated by a conventional gripper without being damaged. Automating farms and food packaging plants will require a gripper designed to handle delicate materials.

What's Your Problem?

Do you have an “unsolvable” gripper problem? We can design custom gripping solutions that leverage all of the advantages that soft robotic technologies have to offer. Send us an email at

Our Team

  • Carl Vause,  Chief Executive Officer, Director

    Carl is CEO of Soft Robotics Inc. Prior to Soft Robotics, Carl held a variety of senior positions in technology and medical device companies, most recently as Vice President of Marketing at OmniGuide Surgical. Carl served as the Global Franchise Leader for the Joint Repair business at Smith & Nephew, with $500 million in annual revenues and also as Vice President of Global Marketing and Director of Strategy and Business Development for the Endoscopy Global Business Unit. Carl served as Manager of Strategic Planning at 3M and as Division Operations Process Manager at Nestle Waters North America. He began his career a Naval Flight Officer in the United States Navy, retiring from the Naval Reserve in 2013.


  • Mark Chiappetta,  Chief Technology Officer

    Mr. Chiappetta is a high energy technology leader with over 20 years of experience in high growth, start-up and mid-size companies. He is an established inventor with over 30 issued and numerous additional pending patents in the field of robotics and automation, and remains proficient in the design, development, and manufacture of revolutionary products utilizing the latest in robotics technologies. Before joining Soft Robotics, Inc., Mr. Chiappetta spent 2.5 years at BIONX Medical Technologies as Senior Vice President of R&D where he oversaw the development of the BiOM robotic ankle-foot prosthetic and 15 years at iRobot Corporation in a variety of technical and leadership roles with his last being Vice President of iRobot's Advanced Systems and Technology group. Earlier in his career, Mr. Chiappetta worked for Joseph F. Engelberger who is known world-wide as the "Father of Robotics." LinkedIn

  • Ryan Knopf,  Director of Hardware Development

    Ryan is a veteran systems integrator and designer that specializes in blending embedded electrical, mechanical, software/firmware, and control system design experience to rapidly iterate highly functional prototypes of complex robotic systems.   As the Director of Hardware Development at Soft Robotics he is responsible for supporting design and fabrication of novel soft robotic actuators and integration of those actuators into custom industrial pneumatic control systems.  He holds a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  While studying as a mechanical engineer, he worked with Prof. Daniel Koditschek in the Kod*Lab to develop three new mobile robotic platforms: X-RHex, X-RHex Lite, and the Canid bounding robot.


  • Dan Harburg PhD,  Director of Business Development

    Dan is the director of business development at Soft Robotics Inc.  He has served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at North Bridge Venture Partners, working with scientists at Harvard, MIT, and the University of Illinois to commercialize technologies at the intersection of materials, medicine, and advanced manufacturing.   Dan completed a post-doctoral fellowship with John A. Rogers at the University of Illinois and was a visiting scholar in the laboratory of Prof. Whitesides at Harvard University. He completed a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Dartmouth and was one of Dartmouth's first Innovation Fellows.


  • Josh Lessing PhD,  Director of Research & Development

    Josh joined Soft Robotics Inc. after working as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Whitesides at Harvard University. As the Senior Scientist at SRI, Josh is responsible for the design and fabrication of a fundamentally new class of chemically inspired robotic actuators. He holds a Sc.B. in Chemistry from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His unique perspective on robotics has allowed for the creation of soft and adaptive robotic actuators through a novel combination of materials and fabrication methods.  


Board of Directors

  • Carmichael Roberts PhD,  Chairman, Co-Founder

    Carmichael Roberts is a long-time commercial and scientific collaborator of Dr. George Whitesides at Harvard University. In addition to Soft Robotics, Dr. Roberts and Dr. Whitesides co-founded Surface Logix, a drug optimization company, Arsenal Medical, a medical device company and Diagnostics For All, a 501c3 nonprofit. Dr. Roberts has served in a board and/or executive capacity for each of these organizations.  Dr. Roberts serves on the advisory boards for MIT’s Deshpande Center for Innovation, Harvard’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, and Dukes’ School of Biomedical Engineering.

  • George Whitesides PhD,  Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Harvard University, Co-Founder

    Prof. George Whitesides joined Harvard’s Department of Chemistry in 1982 and served as department chairman from 1986 to 1989. From 1963 to 1982, he was a faculty member at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Whitesides held advisory positions on the National Research Council, National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society, among other organizations.

  • Adam Sharkawy PhD, Independent Director

    Adam Sharkawy is currently a Sr. Vice President of the Medicines Company and Head of their Pain Management Business.  Prior, he helped establish the headquarters of Smith & Nephew’s Emerging Market (EM) and International Market (IM) divisions in Dubai where he served as a member of their executive leadership team and as Sr. Vice President of Product Development.  Dr. Sharkawy received his Ph.D. from Duke University where he researched methods of growing small blood vessels around long term implants.  He also holds a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Design Methodology from Texas A&M University and  his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the American University, Cairo.  Dr. Sharkawy remains affiliated to Duke University by serving on its Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board and to Texas A&M University by serving on its Bioengineering Advisory Board.

  • Yuquan Wang, Haiyin Capital, Founding Partner 

    Yuquan Wang is a respected mentor in the venture capital industry in China.  He lectures frequently on tech market trends, and on Sina, Tencent and tech media within China. Prior to Haiyin, Wang founded Consultech in 1995, which was acquired by Omnicom Group.  At 1998, he founded Frost & Sullivan China and served as President.

Work With Us

Soft Robotics is always looking for talented engineers, designers, and business professionals.  If you are interested in pursuing a future at Soft Robotics, send an email to:

Current Job Openings

Principal Mechanical Engineer

Job description

As we continue to improve our product, we have an immediate need to augment the Engineering and Product Development team with a Principal Mechanical Engineer. This new addition will be responsible for the design, testing, debug, verification and validation of entire new products as well as iteration of existing products, systems, subsystems, and components in the industrial automation space. Some examples are complex mechanisms, soft robotic actuators, mechanical power transmission, structural components, and electronics packaging.

The ideal candidate will have experience in the robotics and industrial automation fields and will be experienced designing complex systems that incorporate embedded electronics, mechanisms, and pneumatics. At a minimum he/she will have significant experience with product design, development, and transfer to manufacturing.

The candidate chosen will be fluent in Solidworks for 3D modeling, simulation, and drawing creation and may also have experience using MATLAB or Python for mathematical analysis. He/She will possess the ability to work in a machine shop/laboratory and will have familiarity with various 3D printing, laser cutting, and other rapid prototyping technologies.

The strongest candidate will fancy themselves a systems engineer, or even better a robotics engineer, with their strongest discipline being Mechanical Engineering. They will be a high-powered individual contributor that thrives when working as part of a tightly integrated, multidisciplinary team but still comfortable working independently.


Experience/Education Requirements:

BS in Mechanical Engineering required with preference given to holders of advanced degree(s) 

10+ years of experience with a demonstrated track record of exceptional individual performance in a fast-paced product development organization 

Experience with pneumatic systems, robotics and automation, or other complex electromechanical systems is strongly desired 

Knowledge of regulatory and compliance requirements for industrial automation products desired 

Proficient in the creation and maintenance of quality documentation 

Has strong interpersonal skills and thrives in a highly-integrated team environment but can also work independently 

Is generally methodical, detail oriented, and well organized 


Apply at

In The News


September 13, 2016 Soft Robotics Inc. Grippers Coming to International Bakery Industry Exposition 2016

Snack and bakery packaging automation has typically come with its own set of limitations. For example, many products have variable characteristics such as weight, size and shape – all difficult for many packaging machines to handle consistently. Many applications are delicate and require special gentle handling such as raw dough, freshly baked items such as bread rolls or bagels, enrobed chocolate and items with any sort of topping or frosting. These are sample applications where baked goods producers have traditionally found difficulty on the packaging side of their production lines - until now.

April 18, 2016 Soft Robotics Inc. Appoints Mark Chiappetta as Chief Technology Officer

Soft Robotics Inc., an early stage robotics company, today announced that it has appointed Mark J. Chiappetta as its Chief Technology Officer.

Mr. Chiappetta is a high energy technology leader with over 20 years of experience in high growth, start-up and mid-size companies. He is an established inventor with over 30 issued and numerous additional pending patents in the field of robotics and automation, and remains proficient in the design, development, and manufacture of revolutionary products utilizing the latest in robotics technologies.

December 17, 2015 Soft Robotics Inc. Holds First Close of Series A Funding

Soft Robotics, an early stage startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has held a first close of a Series A funding round to expand commercial engagement and product engineering initiatives. Funds will be invested to meet customer demand for their novel material handling solution in the packaging and food handling markets.


December 2, 2015 Soft Robotics Inc. Named as one of Tech Republic's "10 robotics companies to follow on Twitter."  Follow us at @SoftRoboticsInc

"This small, Boston-based robotics company may be on point when it comes to the future of robots. Jim Lawton at Rethink Robotics recently told TechRepublic that "research and the advancement in the area of grippers and hands is still a work-in-progress"—and Soft Robotics' gel-like fingers are "great for gripping." A good company to keep tabs on, for sure."

November 16, 2015 Soft Robotics to participate in RoboUniverse San Diego December 14 - 16

We’re excited to be part of the premier event for robotics enthusiasts and professionals! Join us at RoboUniverse San Diego at the San Diego Convention Center on December 14-16! Get 20% OFF with our discount code RUSpon20 when you register online! Learn more:

CEO Carl Vause will be prsenting Dec. 14, Tutorial #3: The Collaborative Robot Movement, Dec 15 Advances in Robot Gripping, Grasping and Manipulation and Emerging Technologies for Flexible and Agile Manufacturing


September 28, 2015 - Soft Robotics Inc. Wins 2015 Robotics Business Review Game Changer Award 

Soft Robotics’ Soft Adaptive Gripper system has won a RoboBusiness 2015 Game Changer Award, as announced during conference in San Jose last week. According to Robotics Business Review, “The Game Changer Awards honor both the products and innovators pushing the robotics industry forward in critical areas.”


June 17, 2015 - Soft Robotics Food Handling Application Featured in Boston Globe Business Section "Octopus-inspired robot “hands” delicate enough to grasp a tomato"

"This is ground zero at Soft Robotics, a Cambridge company that wants to get its specialty robot hands all over your food."


Soft Robotics CEO Carl Vause to participate in Lux Research Hardly Trying: The Rapid Rise of Soft Robotics June 10th, Menlo Park, CA


Soft Robotics at United Fresh June 8 - 10

Soft Robotics Inc. will be at United Fresh 2015 in Chicago this week.  Our Adaptive Robotic System for Pick and Place of Soft Fruit and Vegetables will be runnning live with Heinzen Manufacturing Intl. Come see us at Booth 1829.


Soft Robotics Attending RoboUniverse NYC

Come by and see us in New York May 11-13 at RoboUniverse.  Our CEO will be presenting on May 11th in the "Robots and the New Adaptive Manufacturing Movement" workshop and May 12th as part of the "Gripping, Grasping and Fine Manipulation" panel.


Soft Robotics Inc. wins Automate 2015 Shell Gamechanger Launch Pad Competition

"The Automate Launch Pad Startup Competition co-produced with Silicon Valley Robotics, and sponsored by Shell GameChanger. The winner of the competition was Soft Robotics, Inc., a company that designs and builds grippers and control systems that can manipulate items of varying size, shape and weight with a single device."


Soft Robotics Inc. Featured in Robotics Industries Association 2015 Annual Trends

Soft Robotics Inc. is featured in the Robotics Industries Association annual trends article published January 19, 2015 titled "Robotics 2015 and Beyond: Collaboration, Connectivity, Convergence."

@SoftRoboticsInc Twitter Feed

Our Partners

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  • RoboUniverse
  • Silicon Valley Robotics
  • Robotic Industries Association
  • Soft Robotics Toolkit

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